Guide skier Fujita Yuhei guides Ariyasu at Beijing Paralympics   

Fujita bumps fists with Ariyasu (left) after finishing. March 12, Zhangjiakou, China

Fujita Yuhei, a native of Asahikwa competed as a guide skier at the Beijing Winter Paralympics, guiding Ariyasu Ryouhei in the men’s 12.5 km visually impaired Free Cross-country Skiing event on March 12. Although the pair finished 16th in their third and final event of the competition, Fujita was praised by locals in Asahikawa for his all-out support, saying that his skiing is a “role model for children” and that it will surely lead to future success on the world stage.

During the race on the 12th, Fujita repeatedly turned and called out to Ariyasu, who was skiing right behind him and, after crossing the finish line, the pair bumped fists and praised each other for their efforts.
 
The pair finished 7th in the 20 km Classical on March 7, and 16th in the Free Sprint on March 9 (failing to qualify for the final). However, Ariyasu is a cross-discipline athlete who competed in the Rowing events at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics, and only began cross-country skiing in 2019. After competing at this level for the first time in such a short period, expectations for the future are high.
 
On the other hand, Fujita was taking part after competing as a guide at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, and also coached Ariyasu at this year’s event. Konno Masahiro, representative of the Asahikawa Para Sports Council, also praised the two athletes, saying, “The experience they gained this time will help them in their future competitive careers.” Fujita has been advising junior athletes with disabilities in Asahikawa how to ski, and has continued interacting with them, even buying souvenirs from oversees. “He is a great role model for the children and has tremendous understanding,” said Konno “If more children follow his example, the para-sports environment in Asahikawa will improve.”

Location

Asahikawa City

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